The McConnell Arboretum and Botanical Gardens at Turtle Bay Exploration Park in Redding is overlooked by many visitors to the Shasta Cascade region. After all, the soaring (and dog-friendly) Sundial Bridge over the Sacramento River is Redding’s star attraction. You and Champ won’t want to miss walking over the iconic structure, but neither should you miss the 20 acres of Mediterranean-climate display gardens on the far side.
The gardens are the newest addition to a 200-acre, trail-laced arboretum that also includes a children’s garden, a medicinal garden, a butterfly garden and pair of unusual water features. Your four-legged friend may not appreciate the colorful displays of perennials or unusual plants from Chile and Australia, but he’s welcome to accompany you on the 1.2-mile Arboretum Loop Trail that winds through the preserve’s oak savannah, riparian forest and wetlands. Spur trails lead to a hilltop with views and to the 19-mile Sacramento National Recreation Trail, crown jewel of Redding’s extensive trail system.
Picnic tables and restrooms are available at the arboretum entrance, and the deli at the Turtle Bay Museum across the bridge is a good place to pick up a bite to eat while you smell the roses.
Photo - "Water feature at McConnell Botanical Gardens" by John Poimiroo
Story posted 3/28/12